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I am John Galt 

Jesus Christ – Walt Disney – Ayn Rand

Three VERY different people who all share(d) a common bond; the rights of the individual. Whether it is the concept of free will, liberty or independence, these passions were self-evident in the lives of each. These people are also the three greatest influences in my life.

Much Much has been written and is celebrated about the creative minds and philosophies of Walt Disney and Jesus, considered by many as “the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind’s progress on Earth,” but Ayn Rand, the screen writer turned novelist and ultimately philosopher, is the least known.

Recently, I found myself watching The Fountainhead on TCM for the first time in many years. It’s a motion picture that so thoroughly ingrained itself into my memory that it reached the level of subconscious thought. While watching it I found myself watching my life in rewind. Most of my adult life has been a consistent struggle against “the collective”, a struggle that has seen enormous setbacks and persecution on nearly every conceivable front. Toward the end of the film, I rediscovered a large portion of my personal philosophy thinking: “This movie is the reason why I am this way!” Its not-so-underlying message of Rational Self-Interest as both freeing the spirit and releasing one’s full potential is a particularly transfixing vision of self-actualization and the world as it could be.    

In between mountains of personal and professional responsibility, Rand has been present in my mind, but never more so than a few weeks ago when I finally decided to watch the Part 1 film of her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged.The ideals and prophesies of this book/film are so compelling and so applicable to the world in which we live that it has become the most important message of our time. Today, Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (the book) is once again skyrocketing in sales and, after 55 years in print, has become one of the top selling books of all time. Additionally, it’s considered by many to be the second most important book of the last two-thousand years. 

More than her book sales, Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism IS a living blueprint of a way in which to govern this or any complex society. In the case of Atlas it’s a warning against the corrupting power and detrimental effects of excessive/unlimited legislation. As one who is thoroughly committed to the ”ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise”, I cannot understate the importance of Atlas’ message.

Rand’s prophetic vision has also become a tremendous source of controversy as her detractors have become akin to the antagonists found in her work and, although I will not attempt to address them… at this time; what I will say is that if you believe in the ideals of self-reliance, independence, and individualism please support the Atlas Shrugged Trilogy – Watch It, Buy It, and Spread It!

Click on the Image Above to Purchase the Film

(After Viewing) ) I hope you can see through the limited production value to the higher-principles at work in this first Part. (Remember, this a film all major studios will not touch.) Ultimately, I look forward to seeing the trial of Hank Rearden, and John Galt’s speech in Part 3 which similarly echoes the warning and challenge of Klaatu's address directed toward the problems of his time.

For more information on Ayn Rand, and Objectivism please visit our new links in People & Places.

DISCLAIMER: My support of the Atlas Society, is limited to those philosophies relating to government, business, and social contracts exclusively.

Reader Comments (3)

Aynn Rand's work regarding objectivisim, rationality, and individual self interst is definitely ground breaking and in my opinion is worthy of a comprehensive review by and any one looking for truth in thier life. At the same time, if we are to bow to the power of truth, we must not stop with just someone's words, but look beyond to how her thoughts influenced how she ran her life and her relationships. (Her life did not end well.)

A signifigant thing to identify is that Rand's work is grounded in the truth of the objective realitysurrounding the individual only. Where she seems to have had a bumpy road is translating these indivdualistic concepts to the collective concept of "society." Perhaps her greatest shortcomming was to not specifically identifing that collective concepts do not occur in objective reality.

Collective concepts are only aggragate labels for many individuals. Only the indiviudlas exist as objective testible instances in reality. The collective concept can not exist on its own since by defintion it is onlya derivitive description of the parts it attempts to describe. This is provable by removing all individuals from a collective, we find that the collective description ceases to have validity.

The collective concept is soley derived from the instance of the individual, it can NEVER contradict with the description and operation of any individual. If a contradiction were ever found, the collective label (being only a description of that which already exists) must be in error, and it is then our responsibility to revise the collective definition.

Back to Rand and societal Theory; if the free will of the individual is founded in objective reality, than these Randian concepts can NEVER dictate how to run a society. For once any person or idea is found to be running a socieity, the individual must in turn has less objective freedoms. Here in lies the grave contradition that tore apart Rand's personal life. Individualist theories can not be used to dictate what individuals "must" do.

Society does not exist as a separate objective element in reality; it is only a desccription of individuals. Since socieity is an aggragrate label, we can substitute what it describes , individuals, in a sentance to better understand what we are saying. If any person beleives society must be organized, run, or governed, they are directly promoting that "individuals" must be organized, run, or governed.

Unfortunately one can never run individuals except by use of or threat of violence. In the end, we find ourself in a dark place where our theory requires us to use violence and threats to enforce objective individualism. When we fin ourselves here, we can either send up a flare to others warning them of the error in our thinking, or we can blindly stumble on too stuburn and invested in our assumptions to admit we are in error.

Those following us do not have the time or interest to second guess our rigerous theories. They will follow us down the path and believe what they are told if it is convincing. Let us not be so vain as to not admit our errors, and not end up just as others have for 10,000 years prouldly leading our fellow man to violence, abuse, and war for the sake of our pride.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDamon Smith

Wow, once again you’ve set-off my internal pressure gauges with your depth!
I would be the first to say that her life was anything but a model one. But I do believe in her principles of Objectivism. It’s very keen that you mention that this one principle does not apply to society – directly. Ultimately, I believe that it is the beginning of an equation. To put in the most basic way, I look at the lesson of Objectivism is that the fulfillment of one’s true purpose for their own Rational Self-Interest has two effects. Firstly, it brings the individual to high level of Self-Actualization. And second, (not covered by Rand) this allows the individual to become more effective and more abundantly charitable than those who have not reached this state of fulfillment. In Atlas, Hank Rearden although perceived by many as a selfish money –grubbier gives massively (to his family and their causes), and with greater frequency than those who are supposedly selfless. He does this because his self-actualization allows him not just ability but capability to make things happen.

I too think this was ultimately, her biggest mistake. By not following through her Rational Self-Interest to its natural and philanthropic conclusion, she managed to alienate a lot more people than should. But we are seeing this with over fifty years of perspective behind us, and by default we presume to have more insight. In any case, the underlying message of all this is that one cannot be an effectively contribute to society until one is fulfilled themselves. There are a ton of charitable institutions I’d love to be involved with, but as long as I have a low-income and what little I make is being forcibly siphoned to social programs that are ineffective and I don’t support, I’m not going to be able to change that. So I’m working harder now than I ever have been to insure that I can more than support myself and be able to help others in the process and because of it.

I understand you’re theory on Collective Concepts, however I do believe that to spite to enormous progress over the past 50/60 years the Mob Mentality is still very much alive and well. (Look at the completely vision-less incoherence of the Occupy Movement.) Think about how long it took to women to achieve collectively perceived worth beyond the household and how long it’s taking for staying-at-home moms to receive acknowledgment for the isolationist sacrifices they make for future generations. These are examples of Real situations that do occur. So although “Collective concepts are only aggregate labels for many individuals”, it does not make its effects of those labels any less real. No one ever acknowledged that Hollywood’s Blacklist ever existed, but nevertheless people were put out of work simply because of alleged communist ties.

The Collective Concept that citizens should be completely subservient to and arbitrary, oppressive, and illogical government or corporation is one that should be revised. Rand’s philosophy (whether or not she practiced it) is that each individual should be free to pursue their own fulfillment, free of excessive regulation. I see no contradiction in the philosophy only the way she tried to practice it in the far less accepting society of over a half-century ago.

Objectivism is not about limiting the individual or “enforcing” individualism. In fact quite the opposite, for as is stated on the Atlas Society Website...

Objectivism holds that a properly limited government should be one founded on the strict respect for individual rights to life, liberty, and property. It should govern through the use of objective laws. In this context, but only in this context, a "democratic," or popularly elected government, is the best known way choose a legislature or the executive. Without respect for basic rights and objectivity, even a democratic government can be oppressive and tyrannical.

This concept might be a little more altruistic and impractical when one factors-in pesky things like human nature, but nevertheless I’ve always subscribed to the yet another philosophy: that "Nature is what we are put in this world to rise above!" – Katherine Hepburn, The African Queen

May 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterJoshua L Harris

It would seem, to me, that based on Jesus' call that we die to ourselves and solely commit to God (not to mention, he gave his life for the entire human race) that being both influenced by Ayn Rand and Jesus would be a contradiction itself.

October 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Smart

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